Tony is the Chief Marketing Officer here at Sales & Orders, along with heading up the inbound and customer marketing teams, Tony also oversees partnerships and branding for our award-winning company and platform.
Tried, tested, and stamped with our approval - we've dispelled some of the speculation about Google Ads In-Market Audiences for optimizing your Google Shopping campaigns.
In-Market Audiences in Google Ads, normally thought to only be available for Display, Search, Video, and/or Hotel type campaigns, can and in some cases should be used for Shopping a well.
"Reach users based on their recent purchase intent" - Google's raw definition of what In-Market Audiences do for your campaigns.
Why Use In-Market Audiences for Shopping?
First of all, this is nothing new. Yet, Google's official documentation makes zero mention of In-Market Audiences being available for Shopping campaigns.
They are, and they can perform incredibly well in the right industry verticals as they can help:
- Reach high purchase intent shoppers based on Google Ads internalized data
- Boost traffic for obscure products or non-branded goods
- Increase conversions when audiences tightly match the products being sold
TRUTH TIME! As potentially powerful as they are, In-Market Audiences are still very much a "hit or miss" strategy for Shopping campaigns.
However, experiments can be very much worth the risk - as long as you closely monitor performance to ensure you are not wasting any precious budget.
Experiment: In-Market Audiences for Auto Parts
Our team has tested these out before and have proven some select use cases for In-Market Audiences.
In one experiment, we saw that a very standard best practice of using Remarketing Audiences (ie RLSA) for Shopping was not producing strong enough results.
One reason was that the volume just wasn't there in the Remarketing Audience segment. So, Google couldn't retarget or remarket to an audience that was "too small".
In less than 30 days, here's what we found for a merchant in the Auto Parts sector:
Some of the key takeaways:
- Increase visibility and traffic: Right off the bat (as expected really) these In-Market Audiences expanded the reach of this merchant's Shopping ads whilst also driving more clicks.
- High ROI: At 10.15X and 22.39X, the Return on Ad Spend for these audiences is astronomically high, all things considered. This is VERY IMPORTANT as it tells us that this tactic was most likely profitable with regards to spending more for quality traffic.
- Conversion Rate: Well above average (2%), these audiences have an incredibly high probability to convert to revenue for the right industry.
- Experimenting: On a hunch, we tested a non-auto parts related audience simply because we felt the less targeted audience would still see synergy with the products. It worked!
How to Add In-Market Audiences to Shopping Campaigns
This is very easy to do for an existing Shopping campaign. BUT AGAIN, be sure to closely monitor performance over time when using this strategy.
Note that you can add Audiences at either the Campaign or Ad Group level. If you have multiple ad groups in a Shopping campaign that are set up for specific products or brands, it may be best to add unique audiences that best match those as opposed to adding audiences at the campaign level which a blanket application.
- In Google Ads, click on Audiences
- Click the "edit" or pencil icon in the UI
- Using the editing menu, select the Campaign or Ad Group to add an Audience to
- IMPORTANT: For experimentation, only use the Observation setting for your audience
- Click Browse and then select In-market:
- Cycle through the extensive list to find In-Market Audiences that best match your products
- Select which (either broad or specific) audience or audiences you wish to add
- Click Save
That's it! Your new In-Market Audiences will now be added to your campaign!
Next Step For Shopping Campaign In-Market Audiences
There are two points we need to stress here:
- Only ever use Observation when testing In-Market Audiences. The Targeting setting should only be used to LIMIT your reach to the exact audiences. This can cause impressions and clicks to drop substantially for a general-use Shopping campaign
- Monitor campaign KPIs very closely. Check in every 3, 7, 14, and 30 days in the first month of experimenting with In-Market Audiences for Shopping campaigns. Pay very close attention to your cost, ROAS, Conv. Value (Revenue). Although strong CTR and Conv. Rate are also good indicators, what really matters is if you are making money or losing it.
- If you note strong performance early on, consider adding a Bid Adjustment to increase CPCs for the entirety of an audience or audiences. Don't increase bids TOO MUCH. Start out at 20-25% increase intervals and continue to monitor performance every 3 to 7 days after a change is made. If you are budget-constricted, you can start with a lower Bid Adjustment range such as 10-15%:
Use date range comparisons in Google Ads after each cycle to measure growth over time. Also, don't get scared away too early on in the experiment. A solid strategy test in Google Ads should go for a minimum of 7 days, but the true value may not be seen until at least 30 days out.
It's also important to note that this strategy will only work for Standard Shopping campaigns. Smart Shopping campaigns do not allow for you to add or even adjust audiences as they are based entirely on Google's Machine Learning.